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Do non-metro cities provide a viable environment for startups to thrive?

As of today, it seems more than 70 per cent startups of India are based in metros. But do you really need a metro or can you work on a startup idea from a non-metro too? And what are the pros and cons

Published: 23rd August 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2018 10:17 PM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU : As of today, it seems more than 70 per cent startups of India are based in metros. But do you really need a metro or can you work on a startup idea from a non-metro too? And what are the pros and cons?
Pros of metros for startups:
Convenience for meetings: Founders and their teams can easily travel for meetings at clients offices or other companies because most companies are themselves having their head-offices at metros.
Flourishing Startup Ecosystem: Startup rides are lonely and thus it becomes important that you have an ecosystem to keep connections with which helps you grow. You can find startup expos, network sessions, investor events etc easily happening at metros as compared to non-metros.

Easier to find skilled human resources: Most skilled people are working at corporate offices in metros and thus if you need workforce for high-skilled tasks, you will easily find them in metros. They will be organising regular meet-ups and events and you can easily connect with them over a cup of coffee. 

Cons of metros for startups
Infrastructure cost: Guess how much a decent flat in a bad location at Bangalore or Delhi costs? 15K for 1 BHK and 30K for 2 BHK! Oh and don’t even ask me about the costs in Mumbai! It would be too heavy for our pockets to hear! Compare this with the rent at a prime location in Tier 2 towns! When I worked out of my Jabalpur office in one of the best and most developed areas of the city, the rates there were `5000 for 1 BHK and `10000 for 2 BHK! That’s a whooping  `10,000 to 20,000 savings right there! 

General survival costs: I have seen entrepreneurs bleeding and startups shutting just because they did not have enough capital to work in Tier 1 towns which for obvious reasons are three times more expensive than Tier 2 towns, if not more. In metros almost everyday you are dependent on cabs, on expensive food and even occasional pubs and dinners can burn a hole in your pockets.

And did you wonder what’s the cost of food in these cities? A simple breakfast at Bengaluru would cost you a minimum of `50 (and I mean just one dosa and one chai at a random ‘Sagar’). Compare that to a `10 poha/samosa full plate and `5 chai at Jabalpur! A fulfilling lunch/dinner meal is at least   `100-150 in Bengaluru at a decent hygienic place. The same you will get in about `50 in similar tier 2 towns restaurants. Now multiply that with 30 days and thank me later for this comparison!  Decide for yourself what works for you! We will delve deeper on this subject next Thursday!If you have any queries, feel free to write to me on Rajeev@TBSPlanet.com

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